Robert Heathcote off to a flying start

BRISBANE Sep 2 2016

Robert Heathcote is looking to continue his winning start to the season but has already conceded the Brisbane trainers' premiership.

Heathcote finished August with 15 winners including 12 in the metropolitan area to give him a clear lead over Tony Gollan.

A five-time premiership winner, Heathcote has been runner-up to Gollan for the past three seasons and is resigned to another second place finish.

"I usually start the season well in August and September coming out of the winter. The tracks are a bit drier and we race a bit more at Doomben and the Sunshine Coast which suits my horses," Heathcote said.

"But I know from experience it won't last. It is a numbers game and for a few years I had the numbers. Now it is Tony's turn but we will be in there trying."

Heathcote will start September with a strong hand at Eagle Farm on Saturday, in particular in the Open Handicap (1200m) in which he has three of the favourites - Saluter, Dream Choice and Lauterbrunnen.

"I take pride in being able to get my horses through to open company. The fact I could win with nine-year-old Jopa last week gave me a real thrill," Heathcote said.

"My three on Saturday are starting to get on as well. Dream Choice has won three times this campaign, Saluter is always thereabouts and Lauterbrunnen is consistent. It is the new look Eagle Farm but all things being equal I would expect them to race well."

He said the weather would play a major role on Saturday as Saluter did not like really wet tracks.

Heathcote is hoping to trial his star sprinter Buffering at either Doomben or Eagle Farm on the course proper next Tuesday.

"Kelly Schweida wants to trial his Group One winning mare Miss Cover Girl and Tony Gollan and Brian Smith have a couple they also want to trial," Heathcote said.

"Buffering will need to trial if he is going to get to Melbourne for the Moir Stakes on September 30."

Heathcote has also been busy off the track campaigning against a draft proposal to introduce mandatory 12-month disqualifications for some drug offences in Queensland.

"I am all for stamping out those who deliberately do something wrong," he said.

"But some of the proposals would rub out trainers for 12 months on charges they have previously been fined for.

"I am one who has previously been fined but things can wrong in stables and there are accidents. I wouldn't be the only trainer to have that happen to him."

"Hopefully the powers that be will see common sense."



Mark Oberhardt - AAP

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